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Calaveras County: Voters Reject Measure Regulating Marijuana, Pass Measure Taxing Local Cannabis Industry

 Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Alyssa Jeong Perry | Capital Public Radio

Calaveras County voters weighed in on two pot-related measures on the ballot. Voters passed a tax on the local cannabis industry, but rejected a measure that would have regulated local marijuana.

Sven Cederquist of San Andreas supported Measure D, the one to regulate. He says the campaigning showed how divided residents are on the the measure that set rules on where gardens can be located and fencing requirements.

"The county has been extremely divided between the two pot measures," says Cederquist. "There's been signs everywhere against and for. The signs are right next to each other. There will be no on Measure D, yes on Measure D two feet from each other.

Many of those opposed to permanent regulation also support a ban on marijuana cultivation for the county. That ban could be on a ballot as early as May.

Paul Ruth of San Andreas explains why he voted against both Measures C and D:

"I feel like things have been rushed," says Ruth. "Especially we had that emergency ordinance. Things have just been going too fast. We need to take a step back and really think it out before we proceed."

Calaveras County is grappling with an influx of new marijuana growers that came into the area after the Butte Fire in 2015. 

It received more than 700 applications last spring from growers seeking to cultivate marijuana locally. While the registration fees brought in $3.7 million to the county, the funds can only be used to carry out that permitting process. By contrast, supporters of Measure C, the tax measure, say it will fund efforts by local law enforcement to eradicate illicit marijuana grows in the county.

Between California cities and counties there were more than 50 pot-related local measures on the November ballot.

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